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Victory improves Abe's hand

Updated: 2013-07-22 02:40
By PU ZHENDONG and CAI HONG ( China Daily)

Japanese leader given more say to continue right-wing approach

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition sealed a decisive victory in Sunday's upper house election, a win analysts said may embolden Abe's right-wing political claims and further complicate ties with neighbors.

The victory allows the ruling camp to take control of all standing committees, facilitating the passage of bills, as it already holds an overwhelming majority in the more powerful lower house.

Victory improves Abe's hand

As ballot counting continues in Tokyo on Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its allies have secured a landslide win in the upper house election.Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno / Agence France-Presse

This was the first national vote since Abe took office in December. By press time, the Liberal Democratic Party and partner New Komeito had won more than 70 of the 121 seats at stake, half of the entire 242 seats in the upper house.

With the coalition's uncontested 59 seats, it will have a majority in the upper house.

The win for the Liberal Democrats also ended a "twisted Diet", where the opposition-controlled upper house sought to block legislation and hamper policies since Abe's humiliating defeat in the 2007 election.

"The Abe administration can become a long-term regime," said Koji Nakakita, a professor of politics at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. "It even has the potential to go beyond the next three years."

Experts said that stable control of the two houses for the first time in six years may help Abe push through his long-standing wish for constitutional reforms, a prospect that will upset neighboring countries.

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